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CHEYENNE – Laramie County school districts saw a wide variety of scores as the Wyoming Department of Education on Wednesday released the results from the state’s second administration of the Wyoming Test of Proficiency and Progress, also known as WY-TOPP.

Laramie County School District 1 Superintendent Boyd Brown said district educational leaders continue to learn from the standardized testing data and adjust the curriculum accordingly.

“Our instruction and our district assessments are not at a place where we feel like we are pleased or where we want to be,” Brown said. “We can always improve. We feel like our students are doing a good job, and we need to continue to align what we are doing with our instruction and curriculum to make sure we do a better job for each and every one of our students.”

Brown said district leaders look at the data, not only from the WY-TOPP assessment, but also from district and diagnostic assessments for each student “to help them go from where they’re at, to where we need them to be (to achieve success) on the state assessment.

Among LCSD1 elementary schools, sixth-graders at Cheyenne’s Miller Elementary took the top spot in English language arts with more than 95% testing proficient or higher in the subject.

Fifth-grade students at Cheyenne’s Poder Academy charter school took the top spot for math with 91.7% testing proficient or higher.

Gilchrist Elementary fourth-graders earned the top spot for elementary science with 81.3% scoring proficient or better.

The elementary schools with the lowest scores were Cheyenne’s Cole and Arp.

Poder Academy Secondary School earned the highest scores within the district’s secondary schools. About 87.5% of the school’s eighth-graders scored proficient or better in math, 81.3% did so in English language arts and 68.8% achieved that result in science.

Cheyenne’s Johnson Junior High earned the lowest scores among the junior high schools.

Poder Academy Secondary School 10th-graders earned the highest scores within the district’s high schools. About 77.8% of those students scored proficient or better in math, greater than 80% achieve that result in English language arts and 66.7% scored that high in science.

Marcos Martinez, CEO and founder of Poder Academy, said the charter school acts as a college preparatory institution.

“Even in kindergarten, our kids start thinking about college, talking about college and understanding what it takes to get to college,” Martinez said. “We try to have more minutes of literacy – math, science – than any other school. We also have tutoring that happens every day of the week. Our students constantly have someone here to help them.”

At Cheyenne’s Triumph High, the district’s alternative school, 7.5% of ninth-graders and 8.6% of 10th-graders at the school scored proficient or better in math. However, 21.2% of ninth-graders at the school scored proficient or better in English language arts.

“We know that we had a couple of places where the curriculum and our district assessments didn’t match very well,” Brown said. “We’ve made some adjustments there. We hope to improve next year. We had some schools that really did a great job, and we had some schools that didn’t improve as much.”

In Laramie County School District 2’s elementary schools, the highest scores went to sixth-graders at Pine Bluffs Elementary and fourth-graders at Albin Elementary.

About 80% of fourth-graders at Albin scored proficient or better in math. Also, 70% or more of those fourth-graders scored proficient or advanced in English language arts.

About 84.2% of sixth-graders at Pine Bluffs scored proficient or better in math. Also, 63.2% of those sixth-graders scored proficient or advanced in English language arts.

At Pine Bluffs Junior/Senior High, 51.7% of seventh-grade students scored proficient or better in math, and 70.4% of ninth-graders scored proficient or better in English language arts. In addition, 48.5% of Pine Bluffs eighth-graders scored proficient or better in science.

Statewide results indicate an increase in proficiency rates over most grade levels and content areas, according to officials at the Wyoming Department of Education.

Overall student proficiency rates have increased in English language arts by 2.6%, math by 2.1% and science by 0.9%.

The largest increases occurred in grade 9 ELA, rising 8.3%, grade 3 ELA, rising 3.4%, and grade 6 math, rising 3.1%.

“Students are comfortable with the online format of WY-TOPP, and teachers have meaningful results almost immediately,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow said in a prepared statement. “Besides providing a much better measure of student performance, WY-TOPP has allowed us to spend less money on statewide assessments – and take up less classroom time for testing.”

WY-TOPP is administered through an adaptive online platform.

Students in grades 3-10 took WY-TOPP summative assessments for math and English language arts. Fourth-, eighth-, and 10th-grade students were also assessed in science through a fixed-form online assessment.

Students in grades 3, 5, 7 and 9 were assessed in writing.

New this year, the Wyoming Alternate Assessment for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities moved from a paper-and-pencil assessment to the same online platform as WY-TOPP.

WY-TOPP results will be used to inform accountability determinations, which will be released Sept. 16.

Along with the WY-TOPP results, the 2019 state-, district-, and school-level results for the ACT taken by students in grade 11 are also available online at edu.wyoming.gov/data/assessment-reports/.

Steve Knight is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s local government reporter. He can be reached at 307-633-3182 or sknight@wyomingnews.com.

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